Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel
Designed by Peter Beavan, this iconic building was built at the Heathcote (or Christchurch) end of the new road tunnel opened in 1964. We had the opportuntiy to walk the length of it, both ways, on an open day before the tunnel was opened for the first time, and more recently walked it again in 2014, when the tunnel reached 50 Years old.
Unfortunately the 2010-2011 Christchurch Earthquakes severly damaged this stunning building, and the decision was taken to demolish it. The much smaller, and not very noteworthy replacement had just been finished when the 50th Anniversary walkthrough took place.
The Control Building, was a 3-4 story design shaped a bit like the hull of a ship, leading to it being referred to as Canterbury's Fifth Ship. (The first four ships bringing colonists from England, are commonly known as the first Four ships.) On the roadside of the building there was a covered plaza, with toll booths to collect fees from all traffic going in both directions. Axle counting strips buried in the roadway before each booth, allowed the correct fee to flash up to the booth operator, and assist in money collection. The shift controller's desk and office overlooked the booths, and housed a significant number of controls to automatically adjust the many traffic lights through the tunnel, check on booth operations, and to dispatch the tunnel control vehicles (two red Austin Gypsy 4wd's) as necessary.
Rather uniquely, the authority extended policing powers for the entire length of the Tunnel Road Motorway from ferry Road, right through to the Lyttelton Harbour Portal. In 1979 the tunnel road tunnels were done away with, as the tunnel had paid for itself at that stage, and the Tunnel Control Authority was dissolved.